To fund or not to fund

Published 9:46 am Friday, May 3, 2013

Itchy eyes and runny noses aren’t the only irritating signs of spring. There’s also the annual budget wrangling for next fiscal year. A large slice of any budget pie is devoted to schools, and rightly so.

Isle of Wight School Board Chairman Robert Eley noted during a recent meeting that the hope is students will be properly educated, and will eventually return to work and live. Ideally, everyone benefits.

But getting the money for school systems to do their work can be more troublesome than allergies. Isle of Wight and Southampton school systems are each having issues.

Isle of Wight’s school board has been instructed to whittle its $63.5 million budget to where the supervisors think they might be able to supply the county’s fair share with little to no need for any tax increase.

Under the proposed revised school budget, doing so could cost many people their jobs. The thought is enough to bring tears to anyone’s eyes, even if they’re not directly affected.

In Southampton County, there’s a call for a two percent raise for teachers. The state will supply 80 percent, and the remaining 20 percent must come from the county. If there’s no match, there’s no raise.

Whether or not you’re a parent in either place, there’s bound to be conflict of what should be funded and by how much.

No matter what one feels on the issues, it behooves residents to share their thoughts with county leaders. Letters, phone calls and, of course, appearances at public hearings and regular meetings are tried and true methods. These, in turn, can help them make informed decisions.

As Courtland resident John Burchett recently stated in a letter to this paper, “If they do not hear from us they assume we don’t care.”

Show you care.